Politicians have condemned those who dumped a car on a Larne bonfire for giving bonfire builders a “bad reputation” ahead of the Twelfth.
The silver Ford Focus is believed to have been left at the Cairngorm Drive bonfire in Craigyhill on Saturday.
Elected representatives say that the act undermines the efforts of the area’s bonfire building committee to ensure that the correct materials are left on local bonfires.
“This gives a bad impression but we will continue to work with the bonfire builders to get this stuff removed,” said DUP Alderman Gregg McKeen.
“Leaving a car there with a highly flammable petrol tank isn’t good and could have resulted in an explosion.
“It could have resulted in injury to the public.
“People are trying to collect the right materials but unfortunately some people just take the opportunity of the bonfires to dispose of stuff.”
UUP Councillor Andy Wilson described the car dumping as “utterly ridiculous” and appealed for anyone with information to contact the police.
“I don’t know who is responsible but I can see from the pictures that there is also patio furniture being dumped there, and the sign says clearly ‘wood only,’” he stated.
“The bonfire builders probably don’t want this site to be left as a tip with flammable materials.
“They have put up a clear sign which says no rubbish but there are irresponsible people out there who use bonfire season as an excuse to dump things.
“We have to wonder if there is someone with an anti-bonfire agenda.
“It’s not fair to blame the bonfire builders as they very clearly put the sign up.
“I hope the police are making enquiries in terms of identifying who left the car there.
“Somebody knows who left it there and they must be held accountable.”
East Antrim MLA Gordon Lyons described the incident as “disappointing” and said it attracted negative publicity for the area.
“This doesn’t do anything for the local area, residents are not keen to see this, it is the kind of story that could get legs and create a negative image of the area,” he commented.
Mr Lyons said that he had also been contacted by local residents who had separate concerns regarding the bonfire.
“The green is a large area and people have been complaining that the materials have been spread over the ground,” he said.
“Bonfires are a really important part of our culture and heritage and I want to keep them as they are enjoyed by the people across the borough on the Eleventh Night, but we need to make sure the concerns of local people are taken into account.
“I am always prepared to work with other people to ensure we minimise the impact on local people and maximise enjoyment on the Eleventh Night.
“It is to be welcomed that the bonfire builders are encouraging people to only connect wood.
“The best way to sustain and keep bonfires happening is to keep people on board to minimise complaints, ensure we work together with locals, the builders and the council to make sure everything is kept as clean and as tidy as possible.
“Everyone should be sensible in terms of the materials collected, we need to use common sense and be respectful.”
A PSNI spokesperson said that they had received no reports of a car on a bonfire in Larne.
A Mid and East Antrim Borough Council spokesperson said: “Council was informed about this vehicle in the last few days and has been working with the PSNI to identify ownership to facilitate its removal.
“Council and other statutory bodies are again engaging with bonfire builders, as it has in previous years, to help manage issues of this nature better.”